debt debs

Personal Debt Wrangler – Had my money head in the sand – but no more!

"Alcohol and Ulcerative Colitis" by Kimery Davis Attribution License


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Booze Budget

https://flic.kr/p/jWkzYF

“Alcohol and Ulcerative Colitis” by Kimery Davis
Attribution License (from flickr)

When spending needs to be lowered to match income, usually cell and home phone plans are renegotiated, brown bagging of lunches begins,  eating out is well curtailed …. ya da ya da ya da.

We’ve all been there right?  OK, well some of us have been there.  Any frugal readers retiring early out there…. I’d love to know your take on this.

So Debt Debs and The Irishman have done their bit.  Well Debt Debs has done a lot and The Irishman has grudgingly been pulled along.

I have the numbers along with graphs, people!  I know you want it!

OK, I need to clear up something first though.  I was working on a brilliant post to educate everyone me on the Power of 72 (hands up if you’ve heard of that :ponder:).

I thought I’d change things up a bit from the focus on debt and look at a$$ets for a change.  Oh, big mistake.  Apparently, I have none.  Well that would actually be lying, because I do have some but not ones that fit well with the Power of 72… or is it the Rule of 72?

Ya, I had negative numbers, and upside down numbers and way up numbers to oh so low numbers.  So I decided to show you my a$$ets per the rule would be more embarrassing than showing you my a$$.  At least not until I go to Class of 72 training.

Ahem… since there is no money in my budget for “72” training, you will have to wait until I self teach myself and then you can all yell at kindly point out to me as to how I’m doing it wrong.

So for today, we are going to focus on Booze.  Pretty hard for a Monday, right?  Ya, well sometimes it’s the hangover we need to cure us of our ills.

Why do I want to focus on BOOZE you ask?  Well, I was a bit miffed on Friday when the Irishman spent almost $70 on it,  which is almost all our total monthly budget of $75 in one shot.  This, coupled with a perception that spending in this area has been going up recently, made me decide to launch an audit.

$75 / month may seem high or may seem low to some of you.  Generally we tend to consume more in the summer, so I like to underspend this budget in winter so that we’ve got lots available come cottage weather.  Well actually I’ve never done that, but a goal is a goal, right?   Like I’m not gonna spend it in summer ….

We started last year making our own wine at a wine making store.  That has helped costs a lot (and increase consumption somewhat but we won’t go there).   However, we have run out and recently have resorted to lovely bottles of Jackson Triggs Pinot Grigio, high quality wines like that (actually, they’re not bad).  I have resorted to nagging The Irishman to starting another batch of ferment-your-own.  I may have to step up the pressure.

So first I check the actuals versus budget this year from MINT:  Mint  Budgets - Alcohol

Hmmm… not bad at all, but this does not include the $70 above which has not hit my credit card yet and thus not in MINT.  However, there is not a lot of savings so far to carry us into the high usage summer period.  Generally I like to see this number quite negative at this time of the year.  Better do some comparison to previous spending.  Just so you can audit me auditing my figures, I present you now, THE NUMBERS (if you can read them):

2012 Booze Spending

2012 Booze Spending

2013 Booze Spending

2013 Booze Spending

2014 Booze Spending

2014 Booze Spending

Don’t worry about the colours.  They represent spending on different credit cards.  Ya, I’ve now standardized on one that gets me big points because I’m a smart cookie.

So a visual glance shows things don’t look too bad in 2014.  Definitely improving over the years.  Need to do a deep dive.  Let’s look at the pretty graphs:

Booze Trends

Jan_Mar Comparison
Oh my… look at March 2012.  LOL That was the month of D-Day (debt acknowledgement day).  Lots of tears folks… lots of tears… (and apparently lots of booze).

Look at those trend lines!  Are they not a work of art? How predictable are we ay?  Like a pair of synchronized swimmers, we move effortlessly through the water (booze) with every turn (gulp) in perfect harmony.

And the pie chart sure shows a lot of year-over-year progress… yay us!

Wait, I spotted something.  Look at the little orange trend line for Q1 2014 above.  See how it perkily points up to the right?  There’s definitely a wayward habit starting there.  Better nip it in the bud before it becomes a run-a-way train.

Note to self:  Talk (plead) with the Irishman and show him these graphs.  Wait don’t show him the year-over-year graphs ’cause he thinks that gives him license… you know how he thinks.  Use your psychology.  OK, just focus him in on the little orange Q1 trend line and remind him how we like to party-hardy at the kot-kot.   And remind him to get that wine on!!  Whew!

Now I know that you’re dying to compare your numbers with mine.  Sounds so dirty, doesn’t it?

Go dig ’em out and give it to me.  Is your booze budget more or less than mine (2 people)?  I got my big a$$ panties on so don’t be shy.

BTW, I did not drink the 1.5 litre of Jackson Triggs this weekend.  It is hidden. 😉

P.S.  Had a good laugh when I noticed something  See the red negative number in the 2012 chart in October?  That is when I made him take some booze back.  I kid you not.

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Throwing up a Blog Time Capsule

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonitunes/681833014/in/photolist-23fzcC-6zQj9Y-9PMUG-8aB2qi-6FzXj8-5HqG2Q-54eMqr-a1Hkqo-a1HkpY-38T42D-a1EsZD-6G5UNE-drMtvR-6kEUme-6kEUDx-6kEUJ6-6kK4ju-6kEUze-6kK4oE-7PPpmG-6svrAX-aYfGqz-7PPpmS-6VER4i-53xgVg-8mi5Sj-z1xxf-z1xxp-7Dj741-7PPpn1-7PPpmN-98TrwP-7PPpmA-z1xxk-z1xxt-85BvDj-9AQgew-9AQgc7-6G1Lvt-uTkh9-z1z3N-hdHQD-4wpxPk-6G5SHC-7Dj6pf-7Dj5dS-7hDMz6-7hDNAK-7ANvfb-7ANvC9-78CDcp/

Creative Commons License:
Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)
flickr Tonya Stinson

Need a little fun today after a stressful week.   Rather than throwing up on Throwback Thursday, I thought I would throw up this post instead … har.

eemusings at NZ Muze gave me this idea for what I call a blog time capsule.   She wrote her post in 2009, predicting her future in 5 years which is now, 2014.

I won’t wait 50 years like the time capsule in the picture.  5 years is a good number of years to wait because it also coincides with the year I want to be debt-free.

That’s right, consumer HELOC debt, mortgage debt, car debt (that one might be tricky) – all of Debs Debt (which includes the Irishman’s debt but we won’t start pointing fingers).

I know many of the blogs I read are already past their DF-day or much closer than I am.  Of course I am happy for you and will look forward to your countdowns in anticipation.  It will only make our own DF-day so much sweeter.  I look forward to that day so much!!  One foot in front of the other…. #WE-WILL-GET-THERE

So with respect to the time capsule, I’ve used most of eemusings questions and added one with my own at the end.  I wanted to be super creative but found her questions were things I want to know from my future self so here goes!  Play along with your own time capsule on your blog.

Continue reading


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The Evil and Grace of Low Rate Cash Advance Credit Cards

We have gathered up quite a bit of available credit (like rolling tumbleweeds) in our debt journey (enough to hang our self with a rope, but lemme try to keep this post positive).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/denise_rowlands/4262433471/sizes/m/in/photolist-7uE5Yg-dgzXnu-4h6bUo-xSUbW-aWcDCx-y2CZX-6SGv-5zt5Jw-4h6c5A-7AhP2e-hQy1pm-3JMPg-ek6urh-b6dUNF-7Sf5oK-FRvA1-8cTe43-axko2Q-4aMjh2-5NyW8-46gqkN-fGBqUR-78Ww5k-5NwdpD-78WMg6-fT3vJw-99ryV-3jkc6s-4H9Mhv-vsdKy-5NAug5-5GZ7M-94nTab-3yq622-3yq5Hv-4h29zT-4h6cgC-bxM8LA-3cFbF8-87XJs2-881VMy-618VEp-xZ5vi-3JMPi-eMVTV1-x9jRV-5XbcqR-7HD3ch-7Hz7RR-7HD4hJ-7Hz72x/

Creative Commons License Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Ðeni (break) Denise Rowlands on flickr

Consequently we used to get a lot of telemarketing calls trying to get us to use these credit cards by transferring higher interest debt onto a card with a low balance transfer rate.

Apparently, while I had my head in the sand, the Irishman started to play along. Hence our debt story where we had amassed $250K of consumer debt up to D-day. (I kid you not, go read about it here).

So fast forward to March 2012, more affectionately known as D-day, I put my big girlie panties on and start wrangling this debt monster.  Strategy becomes my game.  Hey, I got nuthin’ else. Continue reading


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:-( Random Ramblings :-)

We haven’t made a decision yet on our spending dilemma.  I really appreciate the feedback I’ve been getting BTW.  I think we will decide this weekend.  We keep waffling between going and not going with our last position being to forgo.

But …

I got some shocking news yesterday.  Continue reading


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What’s your daily money routine?

By Created by Uwe Kils (iceberg) and User:Wiska Bodo (sky). [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Created by Uwe Kils (iceberg) and User:Wiska Bodo (sky). (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Before our D-Day (debt acknowledgement day), I never logged into our bank account on line.  The only glimpse I saw of our money situation was the balance on the debit slip taken from the ATM.  Even that was falsely reported as it showed the amount of cash we had + overdraft available, making it seem we were ‘richer than we think‘.  No visibility on that little slip for: credit cards, line of credit, mortgages or car loans.   Talk about only showing the tip of the iceberg!

In fact, when I realized that I had to get involved and take responsibility for our financial situation, I would get a panic attack at the thought of even logging into our bank account and credit card accounts.  I shared this fear with my daughter and she suggested that I try to just log into the bank account every day at first.  Once I could do this without anxiety, I added credit cards to the repertoire.  Baby steps… it worked! Continue reading

Gail Vaz-Oxlade


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What does a B-day, a D-day and bloody cold St. Patrick’s Day have in common?

I felt like a hot mess when I wrote my last post.    I was jumping around to different shiny bright objects that entered my purview that day.  Trying to decide how I could increase our income and not getting anywhere.  I’m sure it’s a story many of us have been through.

For me, it just  became more critical the last weeks and months, because The Irishman’s income is variable and when I say variable, I mean to the point of going south, lately.  Now who wouldn’t want to go south during this record breaking cold St. Patrick’s Day?

Me, that’s who.

Well I’m sure most would immediately understand because I’m punching pennies and squeezing nickles.  I say punch a penny rather than pinch it because technically we’ve punched our pennies into oblivion here in Canada because we don’t use them anymore.  Note to self:  Need to figure out what to do with those brown things in that jar on my dresser.

But in this situation it’s a bit complicated.  Since the awakening on D-day 2 years ago, we’ve made progress. [Read all about it here, folks!]  The budget lady has awakened and she is on a mission.  She wants to keep up the pace, stay on plan,  not lose the mojo.  So I started to panic a bit when I dragged out from was discussing with the Irishman his forecasted income for the next month (he gets paid one month in arrears).  January was pitiful, February was slow and March, better, but not where I had forecasted for my cash flow planning.   This is when I launched into must-find-more-income-fast-mode.

Even thoughts of a part time job for me are going through my head.  Although this has not been ruled out yet, I’m wondering how I could manage this with a busy stressful full-time job.  Plus I started this blog so that I could manage my anxiety about said reduced income.  Decisions… decisions.

Oh, even more decisions have been thrown in the mix.  My wonderful younger sister, whom I had over for her Birthday dinner yesterday, and more importantly who I consider a great friend, has asked me and the Irishman to come on a cruise with her and her husband to the Bahamas in May.  YAY! Right?  Oh it gets better, ….they have offered to pay for us.   STFD!!  Well what am I waiting for, you say?!!!!

I may be cray-cray.. or deliriously depressed … or both.  But I don’t wanna be.  But since I am having a hard time making a decision, maybe I am depressed?  I need an intervention.  A decision intervention.

What are my reasons for not being deliriously ecstatic about this opportunity to provide some fun in my mundane so-called life?

  1. The biggest factor is not my money problems, but their money problems.  She has health problems and has recently lost her job.  Consequently they have have sold their home and downsized to a nice country home.  She’s living YOLO (you only live once – I had to google that when I saw it in another blog, in case you’re new to PFB’s).  She’s very upbeat and joyful and I don’t want to be her Debbie Downer.  (Even though my nickname as a kid was Debbie Down – I kid you not!  I used to climb up cupboards all the time and my parents dropped the word ‘get’ in between Debbie and down)  In fact, the reason that they want to pay for us is because the Irishman sold their house for them, saving them all the commissions.  But why do I get all worried about their financial situation when I have enough of my own to sort out?  I wish I could let it go.  Is it because I think they are not concerned enough and they should be?  It really makes me want to hide under a rock, a fraggle rock, but still a rock.
  2. OK, even if I decided to graciously and happily accept this wonderful gift from them (we would go inside cabin, no excursions, smuggle on booze and try to be cheap cheap like little birdies), there still will be additional attracted costs – The drive to NY, one or two overnight stays, wine with dinner (who am I kidding that we would not drink every night?), cute baby clothes from Bahamas for the grandchild, maybe a trinket or two for my kids.
  3. Then we’ve got the lost income from the Irishman for the week that we travel.  Sure it’s only a week, but with lost time to make up for… where’s my rock?

OK, now that you’re looking up the number for the mental health crisis line, I should let you know that we have mental health issues in my family so we don’t joke about that.  Actually we do, otherwise how the hell would we get through things?  ha ha laughter really is the best medicine. {snort}

So what are the reasons that I’m even considering this at all?

  1. It’s on my bucket list.  The Irishman and I have had two cruises (little did know that we couldn’t afford it!, but I need to stay on topic now) but what really is on my bucket list is to do one with them.  They’ve never been on one and we asked them before we were smarter but they were busy with younger kids and hockey and expensive hockey and it just wasn’t on their radar. I think now with the health crisis they are thinking differently.  I’d hate to not do this and miss an opportunity I can’t get back.
  2. The Irishman has been working hard, even if there’s not always something to show for it.  He had two days vacation for all of last year.  What is one week in the grand scheme of things?  Plus, if things stay being slow, then he may not miss much plus we have a bigger problem than I thought. eek

They have been asking for a couple of weeks and need to make a decision this week.  I told her to ask our aunt and uncle from Ireland instead (we had often thought of going on a cruise with them, they’re a lot of fun).  She said what a great idea, then we could all go!!!  LOL  Truth be told, if she could get them to come, that would clinch the deal for me.  Since we lost our Mum 10 years ago  and our other aunt 15 years ago this past Sat, they are the closest family on Mum’s side and I miss them all terribly.  Last time we saw them was when Mum died.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade

My sis with Gail Vaz-Oxlade

 

Gail Vaz-Oxlade

Autographed book from Gail Vaz-Oxlade

And to wrap this post up in a bow (this feels like 6 degrees of separation), last year I got my sis Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s book, Money Rules for her birthday.  She got the chance to go see her last week and Gail autographed her book.  Gail you’ve got it wrong.  She’s the good sister.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/banky177/331468449/sizes/m/in/photolist-vhS2g-8SQKgp-c9U2o-86DYKP-t9CKb-7dhPgo-52CG1z-aW1E8r-86tofd-hLnYb6-4g7A6F-8STQMC-5cSWRR-5xiDFu-7EMv-5X1jTv-Bq7GH-efPteu-4DP8Br-8TW3Q-4o2pdP-5zYwuf-fwXmWR-BZLeF-7Z25Zm-7krzkQ-7MQnjN-8KzGKC-bPCnFt-5y8fDf-9eg6Z-6XirFg-7q6Mf5-7jsToM-CXbzA-aBUo2n-aise8x-4vXDdc-4md4kU-5bZGLE-efPtjY-vhS1F-aPCDQv-8euzir-aALCrs-5mtqXu-4ya4y-88Myd1-82GaEd-bR9gbi-8to24z/


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Happy Belated Pi Day

OK so just getting going here and haven’t found my groove yet.  This is going to be a random post of thoughts in my head and goings on.  I need to get some traction, people.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/banky177/331468449/sizes/m/in/photolist-vhS2g-8SQKgp-c9U2o-86DYKP-t9CKb-7dhPgo-52CG1z-aW1E8r-86tofd-hLnYb6-4g7A6F-8STQMC-5cSWRR-5xiDFu-7EMv-5X1jTv-Bq7GH-efPteu-4DP8Br-8TW3Q-4o2pdP-5zYwuf-fwXmWR-BZLeF-7Z25Zm-7krzkQ-7MQnjN-8KzGKC-bPCnFt-5y8fDf-9eg6Z-6XirFg-7q6Mf5-7jsToM-CXbzA-aBUo2n-aise8x-4vXDdc-4md4kU-5bZGLE-efPtjY-vhS1F-aPCDQv-8euzir-aALCrs-5mtqXu-4ya4y-88Myd1-82GaEd-bR9gbi-8to24z/

photo from flickr
License Attribution Some rights reserved by marioanima

So in search of ideas (I have none – but I also lie), I’m not just lurking blogs (OK I might have done that for a few weeks while trying to decide if I should do this) but actually engaging.   Let’s be honest, people (ok I’ve used the word people twice, is that really my style?), I’m not looking for comments or traffic full stop.  I’m looking for kindred souls, wallowing in self-pity, who are actually worse off than me.  (Remember above where I said I lie).  OK two out of three parts in the last sentence are actually true.  I do love

ca·ma·ra·de·rie

[kah-muh-rah-duh-ree, -rad-uh-, kam-uh-] Show IPA

noun

comradeship; good-fellowship.

(and I did not know how to spell that) around a common goal (your money and my money, we won’t combine things just yet, mkay?).  For the lurking that I have done, I have yet to find someone who is as bad off as me (I use me and we interchangeably in this blog because I am half of a married couple, but let’s face it, he is not writing this blog, does not know about it yet, is not doing the finances….ahem).  Ya, as if anyone would like to combine finances with me.  Remember, I said random thoughts.

So as I was saying, in my pursuit, I found this lovely gem of a blog which requires me to read it from inception fall 2013 to today (Well technically the blog doesn’t require me to do this, but my non-retentive personality thinks it’s a good idea).  I’m at Little Miss Money’s In Pursuit of Riches Day 62 from Dec 15 and get side-tracked by 69 Fantastic Ways to Make Money (that number is a little suspicious, I’m just sayin’…).

This causes me to spend a couple of hours (ok probably more than that) trying to upload unique baby onesie designs at Cafe Press for which I am neither technically competent nor have the needed software to create, even if I have a kick-ass idea.  So I create using Microsoft Word and copy to Paint. (My all this Creative Commons License for photos has me in a tizzy, thinking I have to put ™ or ® or© or ¥MCA when I use stuff like that. I liked it in the olden days when we blogged and didn’t know what we were doing by ripping off offending people who put their stuff out there in the air.  Well, I still, obviously, don’t know what I’m doing but at least I feel bad about that.)  But when I upload this poor man’s jpg, all the site wants to do is put my designs on water bottles and key chains, not baby onesies.  Eventually, I figure out how to get it on some baby stuff but now I’m not clear on how it gets into the Cafe Press Marketplace.  So on this wonderful day in mid March it is becoming abundantly clear any attempts at side hustle will be easily thwarted but I can still have fun with my creativity, right?

So I still need to get back to LMM blog which I’m really enjoying (go refill coffee here), and especially excited since she is interacting with me.  I have to confess that during my lurking weeks I found a blog called Middle Class Mom in Toronto that was not active since 2011 but I read it all anyways from Feb 2010 – July 2011 (yes, I  got hooked).   I’d love to know how she is doing now on her debt journey and with her daughters and otherwise but I guess it’s not meant to be.  Ya, so you know how some blogs just pull you in?  Well that’s how I feel about LMM and I don’t even mind making the investment in reading her entire blog because, well it’s < 2 years and I have a live person contact so I can know how it’s going to end.  {insert big smiley face here}

Well I guess that’s enough for today, except a few other random thoughts as to why I entitled this post Happy Belated Pi Day, which was yesterday, 3.14, of course.  I’ve always been a fan of numbers having a degree in Math and Accounting, which makes my whole reason for this blog extremely embarrassing.  Shoemakers kids have no shoes analogy goes here.  Plus I hate doing my taxes, so I don’t, leaving it for the Irishman.  Ya, so for that reason and with the size of the dreaded D word means I want to stay incognito.  But it still means I want support and also to help others to learn from my situ.  OK enough, we’re going to my daughters for dinner so I should get cracking.  Maybe I should bring some Pi.